Author: Falguni Agrawal
Bharti Vidhyapeeth Deemed to be University, New Law College, Pune
Drug abuse is a common problem within the world and is everywhere we glance. People from every field of life experience problems with substance abuse and its addiction regardless of their age, race, background or the very fact that they started drugs within the first place. Many teenagers come in contact with stimulating substances that have narcotics effects. Some people experiment drugs out of curiosity, to have some good time, one reason is that their friends are opting for these narcotic substances, to ease problems like anxiety, stress or depression etc.
Abuse and addiction can both be confused with one another. Abuse occurs whenever we use alcohol or illicit substances, while on the opposite hand, addiction can happen in a wide variety of activities. Addiction is often defined as “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal, broadly, persistent use compulsive of a substance known by the user to be harmful.”1
The term drug does not only mean medicine but with substances with a narcotic effect. These hathe bit-creating drugs can have harsh effects on mind and body cells. The addict becomes so addicted to the drug or illicit substance that they can’t stop using it.
Drug addiction is a brain disease as it changes the neurological structure of our brain and hampers our behavior. There is an uncontrollable inclination to consume drugs and as a result of which addicts become habitual to take up drugs.
Causes of drug abuse and addiction:
There are a number of reasons why teenagers are addicted to drugs and related substances. Lack of self-confidence is considered as one of the primary causes of drug addiction. It can also revolve around factors like stress, peer pressure, parental control over a child's activities etc. by
High stress: Teenagers who have just started their career or moved to a new or different city in search of a job or other work usually face this issue of a changed lifestyle. They tend to reduce this stress level by the use of drugs or these narcotic substances.
Social Pressure: Today, we are staying in a competitive world and it is difficult to survive in this world. There is always peer pressure among the young and the elderly. Nevertheless, it is never seen. The teenagers try to experience the first taste of alcohol or drugs. It becomes less easy or tiresome to the person who doesn’t drink or smoke. As they feel neglected by their group, they tend to opt for drugs or these harmful substances.
Psychological trauma: More than 75% of people who suffered from psychological trauma use drugs as a part of self-medication or for self-destructive behavior. The availability of these substances plays a great role in the perpetuation of addictive behavior in families.
Availability and accessibility: There are a number of drug peddlers in every area wherever eyes can reach. They are not only present in metro cities but also in small towns. The best example of a drug area is Punjab.
Even in the movie, Udta Punjab, the area is shown in a bad light, a place where more and more people are prone to drugs. Do you know why Punjab is more prone to Drugs and these harmful substances? because it shares its boundaries with Pakistan and these items are easily smuggled from these countries and are made available in every corner of the country.
How drug abuse and addiction develops:
There is a thin line between regular drug use and its addiction. Very few people can only recognize when they have crossed that line. Some indicators describe when drug usage has become a drug abuse or addiction. Keep the following points in mind:
If the drug fulfils a valuable need: You might find yourself addicted to the drug. One can opt to take these substances to energize oneself or to become confident and not to lose hope. You may start taking prescription tablets to relieve pain, panic attacks or to reduce worries and tensions. If one is taking the drugs to fill up their barren space, then that person is more at the risk of crossing the line of differentiation.
Drug abuse may start as a bond of social connection: People prefer to take drugs when in social gatherings with friends and acquaintances. To be in the group, teens prefer to opt for these harmful substances as their only resort.
Problems can slip onto you: As your drug use slowly increases over time. Smoking with peers, taking painkillers for your backache and getting used to taking drugs, becomes more and more important to you and it hampers your life.
As drug abuse takes hold: If one becomes habitual to drugs, they tend to avoid any social gatherings, parties and their work, thus work suffers. Your ability to work thus reduces, as you take narcotic substances for their relief. Nevertheless, it becomes a habit that you are unable to stop using or taking them again. What began as a voluntary activity, just for fun, turned into a physical and psychological need.
Drug abuse can take your precious life: Taking drugs and avoiding all your social and intellectual development can strengthen the feeling of loneliness. With the proper treatment and care, one can revert to his normal life. The first issue is to understand and realize that you have a problem and listening to loved ones can help in getting back your precious life.
Warning signs of commonly abused drugs:
Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, lack of interest, weight increment.
Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, crystal meth): Enlarged pupil, highly excited, euphoria, stress, followed by depression or excessive sleep at odd hours.
Inhalants (glues, aerosols, vapors): Watery and impaired eyes, secretions in the nose, and rashes on nose and mouth; headache and nausea; impoverished muscle control, changes in appetite.
Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP): Dilated pupil; bizarre and irrational behavior including aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; slurred speech.
Heroin: Contracted pupils; no response of pupil in the light; sweating; needle marks; loss of appetite.
Preventing this drug abuse:
As said, “Prevention is better than cure”, it is always better to discourage the people from drug usage. It is not possible to prevent everyone from taking drugs. There are certain things that can be done to avoid drug usage at a higher pace. Here are effective methods to prevent or reduce drug addiction.
Deal with peer pressure: The harsh reason why people start taking drugs is due to their friends or colleagues because it is assumed that people do not like to be left alone. If you are in such a situation, then you need to find a better group of people, who doesn’t involve you or pressurize you to try these hazardous substances.
Treat emotional illness: Individuals suffering from mental illness like depression, anxiety should seek help from a physiatrist and not indulge in these tempting situations.
Learn from dealing with pressure: People tend to work over and then to reduce the pressure, turn to these substances and make their lives stressful. The best way is to find other methods to avoid these situations.
Understanding the risk factor: If you are not aware of the risk factors of drug addiction, you should know about the drug abuse. Individuals who are aware of the physical and emotional effects of these substances are likely to overcome them. One should always take a look at a bigger picture and focus on priorities, instead of worrying about the short-term goals.
Develop healthy habits: Eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise is the best way to prevent this issue. A healthy body makes it easy for a person to handle stress, anxiety, which reduces the temptation to use drugs.
The above tips are just suggestions, to avoid the abuse. But if a person has developed a drug addiction, he should try to opt for a drug detox method.
Remedies for drug abuse or addiction:
One must understand the consequences of drug abuse and it can be effectively managed just like the other diseases like asthma, diabetes, etc. It is a type of chronic disease and one can’t stop the usage of drugs within a few days. A lot of people need time and proper care to cease the consumption of drugs. The treatment method must be made according to the condition of the addict. There are a number of treatment methods like Inpatient drug abuse treatment, outpatient drug abuse method and cognitive behavioral therapy. These can be explained as:
Inpatient Drug Abuse Treatment: It is one of the options that allow the addict to focus on his therapy. Being a part of this therapy, the likelihood of rehabilitation increases, especially if there is no good support system.
Outpatient Drug Abuse Treatment: It is ideal for those addicts who have a supportive environment at home. It is for the people who are ready to take up the short-term inpatient treatment program.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy: It is another option that is highly effective in treating these issues. CBT undertakes to control the negative thought process that leads to drug abuse.
Drug addiction is a disease that results from a number of factors like history of violence at home and stress. Researchers have been able to identify the factors that have led to drug abuse. A lot of people mistakenly view or take drug abuse as a social problem and characterize the addict as a weak person. Though there is no scientific evidence on how exactly drugs work in the brain, it can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs.
1. Merriam Webster, Riot, MERRIAM WEBSTER (SEP 13, 2020, 10:50 AM), https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction.
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